Giannis Antetokounmpo is the power forward for the Milwaukee Bucks. This two Time NBA MVP is one of the most talented superstars in the NBA. He is known for his athleticism and strength. Throughout his career in the NBA, Giannis has added a lot of awards and honours to his name. Some of them include an NBA All-Star MVP award, NBA Most Improved Player, making it thrice to an All-NBA First team and also being a five-time NBA All-Star.
Giannis however was not always the picture-perfect super athlete. He has gone through an immense amount of struggle to reach great heights.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Life Growing Up
Giannis was born in Athens, Greece on the 6th of December, 1994. He was the son of two Nigerian immigrants, Veronica and Charles Antetokounmpo. His parents had moved to Greece with his three brothers. Being immigrants, Giannis’s parents struggled to find work and hence had a hard time providing for the family. Giannis and his brother Thanasis had to figure out a way to help the financial situation of the family while pursuing basketball.
The two brothers began seeing watches, handbags and sunglasses in the streets to help their parents. While practising basketball, the two brothers did not have enough money to get shoes for both of them. So they would share the same pair in turns.
We sold many different things – watches, handbags, sunglasses, key rings, CDs, DVDs. Whatever we could put our hands on. I was amazing at it. My brothers will tell you. Selling stuff and hustling – I was definitely one of the best, because I loved doing it and I loved spending time with my mum.
The Struggle At The Beginning Of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Career
Spiros Velliniatis was the first basketball talent scout that noticed the skill that Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother had on the court. Spiros had to pursue and convince Giannis’s parents to let the sons find a career in basketball. After a long struggle, Giannis managed to land a spot in a third-tier Greek basketball team, Filathitiko’s.
After the word had spread around about a wonderful prospect, in 2013, 29 of the 30 NBA franchises travelled to watch Giannis ahead of the 2013 NBA draft. Happy with his performance, Giannis got the opportunity to play in the NBA. He was drafted as the 16th pick by the Milwaukee Bucks.
At the time, fans and analysts believed that the 15th pick was high for a Greek off-radar project player. Little did they know that they were looking at a player who was going to win the NBA MVP award back to back. The beginning in America was a struggle for Giannis Anteteokounmpo.
The star did not have enough money to buy a pair of shoes for himself nor did he have the money to arrange private transport to take him to practices. Giannis would save up all the money he got at every chance he got. He used to run to practice instead of taking a taxi so he could spend the extra dollars on his mom and dad who worked so hard all their life to help him and his brother have a good life. He would also pick used shoes from the trash
Now Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the biggest stars in the league. He has his own signature shoe line called the Nike Zoom Freak and has a whopping net worth of $170 Million as of 2021. Giannis however has remained humble and grounded through all the fame and has not purchased even a single pair with his own money. Giannis has a story that will inspire not only the project players from the Greek community but all over the world.